Preface and Acknowledgements
Updated June 1, 2003
Reincarnation is making a comeback. Siriusly.
Routinely accepted by a majority of the world’s population, reincarnation and related psychic phenomena have never been given their due in the western world. Western science, religion, and the news Media have gone out of their way to ignore even the possibility of reincarnation. Ordinary citizens, however, have begun to sit up and take notice. Hundreds of thousands are actively studying the subject, reading books on a variety of related topics, changing their lives to reflect their new beliefs, and, for the most part, acting as if reincarnation was an established fact.
With all of this energy being expended by those who believe in reincarnation (or who find it difficult to simply dismiss it out of hand), millions of other rational, acceptably normal humans are beginning to wonder about what it is that’s causing all the commotion. The sheer volume and clamor of activity has attracted the attention of others, who are simply curious or who are willing to look for an alternative way. Suddenly reincarnation has become an idea that the Western mind accepts as a legitimate topic for discussion.
Moreover, reincarnation is only a piece of a far larger, for more fascinating puzzle. It is the launching pad for all manner of strange and bewildering phenomena -- curiously labeled "anomalous behavior and events" -- which are often, incorrectly, termed the "New Age". Inasmuch as most all of it is very old phenomena and often only recently discovered by the spiritual seeker, "New Age" is clearly inappropriate. As Mark Twain as suggested: "The ancients have stolen all of our really good, new ideas."
With the turn of the millennium -- and the approach of 2012 A.D. -- the necessity of coming to grips (and not gripes!) with the ingredients of this book is really quite essential. Not all of it necessarily true -- many prophecies and predictions were way off base -- but the idea of thinking about the possibilities and the implications is important. It's time to consider what might be, use some discrimination, decide what is relevant, and then live accordingly.
Purpose of this Book
The new found legitimacy of the subjects contained herein are why this book -- and later the website -- was written. What will be attempted in the following pages of this branch of the web tree is the bringing together of the relevant facts, opinions and claims concerning reincarnation and related psychic phenomena. Heavy emphasis will be placed on objectivity, as we attempt to explain, as concisely as possible, the various aspects or areas of interest in reincarnation, and to comment on or discuss the extent to which these various aspects are verified or supported by case studies, experiment, and/or other forms of evidence.
This is, quite obviously, a challenging task. Reincarnation and the related topics being explored in this book, constitute nothing less than the whole of life and are potentially without limit. George W. Meek, in his book, After We Die, What Then?, has noted that three psychical research libraries in the United States alone, list more than 100,000 books on the broad subject of life after death. Clearly, "discriminating readers want to know!"
At the same time, this book which you now hold in your hands must be viewed as a terse but objective introduction to the subject. By organizing the myriad aspects of reincarnation and related paranormal phenomena into an intelligible whole and placing each of the strange phenomenon in its appropriate cubby hole, the author hopes to facilitate the reader’s understanding of each aspect and at the same time allow for a better overall appreciation of the combined subjects.
What this book will not attempt to do is to overwhelm the reader with massive amounts of evidence supporting any particular point of view. Instead, the weight and breadth of evidence will be noted, along with its significance. The challenge of convincing the reader of a specific idea will be left to others. It is not the intent of this book to sell anything, or attempt to convince the reader of any specific idea, but merely to offer ideas and possibilities.
Organization of Book
The book is organized into four sections: Basics, Experiences, Possibilities, and Implications. The basics include discussions of reincarnation, karma, soul-mates, and other topics which seem intrinsically tied to the subject of reincarnation. The second part of the book deals with birth, near-death, and out-of-body experiences as well as regressions to the state between lives and the possibility of “earthbound spirits”. The experiences section of the book provides detailed information about the specifics of reincarnation theory, derived from a diverse group of unique and significant experiences. These experiences may be considered as supporting evidence for reincarnation theory.
The third part of the book begins to consider some of the possibilities arising from reincarnation theory. These possibilities include the possible need for changes in the way we view the universe, ESP, time, dreams, divination, channeling and near-term prophecies (as well as a few other subjects). Many of these subjects are not obviously related to reincarnation in all cases, but they are often discussed in the same context. Connections between the various topics do exist, however, and while they may be tenuous, they are important to an overall view of life and death. In many cases reincarnation is an essential ingredient in the validity of that subject. In other cases the connection is more circumstantial.
The fourth part of the book deals with the inherent implications of reincarnation theory. This includes how an individual’s acceptance of reincarnation might influence that person’s life and beliefs, and an attempt to consolidate the diverse evidence into a consistent and all-inclusive theory of reincarnation, which can then be either accepted or rejected.
An essential aspect of this book is to ask questions. Not just the ones with quick and clever answers, but ones such as: Why are we here, what is the basic purpose of life on earth, is there an overall pattern, and are we involved in some sort of journey or evolution of the soul? If there is a single question that will appear more than once in this book, it will be: Why?
Many answers or alternatives will be provided by the author, but it is emphasized that an understanding of reincarnation will evolve only by the reader’s own questions. In Voltaire’s words: “Judge a man by his questions, not his answers.” [Also never judge a book by its movie.]
I trust you will have some excellent questions ready, once you have finished reading this book.
No book is every written in isolation (which it they were, would constitute a pretty dismal situation). Instead, innumerable friends, associates, authors, teachers, and editors interact with an author and ultimately contribute in a substantial way to the finished product. They also occasionally serve to keep the author sane during the process -- but one should not assume that any failure on their part in this regard constitutes a reason for blaming them. To all of the people (and/or entities) my sincerest gratitude is extended, particularly to those who aren't specifically mentioned by name here.
Particular thanks go to Maurice Albertson, who first whetted my appetite for the subject, and who, along with Ken Freeman, allowed the use of the first versions of this text in a series of reincarnation classes offered at Colorado State University. Thanks also go to the members of SPRE, a strange group of people with some of the most outlandish ideas ever heard -- most of which turned out to be amazingly accurate -- and to William Baldwin and Gloria Green, for some of the most incredible and loving demonstrations in metaphysics I've yet witnessed.
Editorial and critical reviews have been generously provided by many friends and associates, and while these terrific people can't be held responsible for the final text, nevertheless they deserve credit for many of the good portions. Particular thanks go to Catheryn Lewis, Mary Herrick Hodkins, Karen Christophersen, Margie Butts, Cheryl Herzig, Carolyn Duff, Mark Sloniker, Louise Thornton, Eileen Bartosch, Barb McCombs, Mary Kay Rae, Olivia Rud, Rakel Sayre, Lon Spencer, Judy Turner, and Kate Taylor. More recent contributors include Laurence Gardner, Sharon Stuart, Nancy Lee, Jane Robertson, Deborah Howard, Stephanie Soule, Suzanne Coast, Evan Hodkins, Gail Leigh, Robin Blackorby, Bob Charles, Ken Cousens, Paul Holdeman, Joe Maize, Susan Novy, Laureen Persson, and Nancy O'Brien.
To all the authors, thinkers, teachers, healers, and metaphysicians that have added to my thoughts, experiences, and understanding, I am particularly indebted. They often do not receive mention in an author's acknowledgements, but inasmuch as they have shaped so much of my work, they deserve my special thanks.
Finally, my love and heartfelt thanks to my family, and particularly my children, Scott, Shari, and Kelly, for their unconditional love and support throughout the entire process.
Chapter One: Reincarnation: The Basics
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]